by heather marlette

It is a crazy time right now. Unprecedented, even. So, what is life like for people in the time of the COVID-19 crisis?

I can’t answer that for everyone, but I can answer it for me. For me, life is a little insane right now. I have been quarantined for exposure and showing symptoms of COVID-19. The symptoms are mild and only worsened by my asthma and autoimmune disease. Luckily, I feel better today. I am still exhausted, my chest hurts and my breathing is labored, but I am better. I am lucky.

The crazy thing about this novel coronavirus is that it affects people so differently, there is no real way to predict how it is going to act within any one group of people. For many of us, that is terrifying. We do not know how to act or what to do, should we be scared or not? How intensely should we social distance? What the hell does that even mean?

People are dying. They are dying because our government didn’t take the threat of this disease seriously. They are dying because we are a country that claims to be one of the most advanced in the world and still we had intense shortages before this crisis. We knew that if something like this happened, our ventilators would not get us through. We knew that there would be people who we would have to choose to let die. How is that okay? How is that a thing? Why?

I am just beside myself today. As we go into our second month of this, you have to wonder how bad is this going to get? My wife and I are doing well, we only want to kill or divorce each other at portions of the day. My daughter is delightful and charming – except when she isn’t. I am simply not sure what to do. When my wife went for a walk, she let me know that the outside world is shut down. I am here. quarantining. Day 9. I would walk with a mask, but by the time I get to the end of my back sidewalk, I can’t breathe. So that would be a no.

I am hoping that will end. I am not sure how long it takes for the recovery to happen. One day I will feel so much better, wake up the next day and feel like absolute hell again. The tight chest is lingering. Shortness of breath, absolutely not going away. Exhaustion is more fluid, changing with the days. How the people who have moderate cases of this are not just crying all day.

I am also lucky that no matter what I do, I am currently able to work. I haven’t had to miss a 5 things column just because I was sick. As I watch the unemployment rise higher and higher, I just am at a loss for what to say. I have been there for suckier reasons, but to have been laid off or fired because of a virus? Not your performance, not that they are reducing numbers and you were one of the ones chosen to go, not personal reasons – literally a microscopic piece of air has taken your job. I can’t even fathom that. Nor can I wrap my mind around the sheer numbers of unemployment claims around the country. I mean. Damn. Scary.

The business shut down as well. I feel so horrible. All we can do is hope that small business survives. We can support them in so many ways, but then again, we are all watching our incomes too, because if you are still working, you have to think ahead to a period in the near future when you may not be.

As I have talked about on this blog before, I suffer from depression and anxiety. Do you know what is through the roof right now? Depression. Anxiety. Yeah. Even the perkiest of people are having a bad time right now. Which increases my stress. Which ups my anxiety. Which deepens my depression. So, how do you even begin to help people who are not used to the overwhelming feeling that their anxiety is crushing them? Short answer: you are there for them. Does it suck? Yes. Do you want to sometimes scream? Yes. Do you know how it feels when someone doesn’t understand your emotions and feelings or makes it about them? Yes.

So you are there for them. You listen. You give advice. You manage your issues and help others to manage them by talking through some of their feelings. You are a mini therapist for people who don’t even understand that what they are describing is what you go through daily, without a pandemic knocking on your door. And you do it willingly and happily. Because you may get frustrated, but if we don’t take care of each other during this time, then what does that say about us. How are we supposed to justify wanting to be social creatures if we don’t take care of society?

Other than that, the stress of doing a daily news wrap-up can get to me. I love that I am finally a writer who gets paid for what I love. I work at a great site CivMix and get to bookend the day with a wrap-up that compliments the morning news wrap that is written by someone I am a personal fan of. This is AWESOME. I am not complaining. It is just sometimes hard because it is my job to look through all of the news of the day, sum it up to the top federal, state and regional ones and then deliver it in a gentle and easy to read format.

I love it. I am thriving. For the first time in my adult life, I am doing what I want to do, and what I think I am okay at. I have confidence in my job, my work and am happy. But it gets overwhelming, maybe a bit upsetting at times. I have to focus on the fact that I am helping people who really can’t handle going through the news but still need to be updated.

I get to write for other places too I am doing a lot of content creation. That’s interesting. I write for Screen Rant. That will NEVER stop being awesome. So I find that this is all a little bittersweet because my writing gigs started kicking off as the COVID crisis started and it kinda all melds together in my mind. No matter. I will not let that dampen the fact that I am finally doing what I love.

As time keeps ticking on and things keep getting worse, I hope that we will all see a different side of society when we come out on the other side. If anything good can come from this, I am hoping that we will be a country that takes care of its own, demands truth, clarity, and communication from our leaders, and loves just a little bit more.

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